As we all know, Ashes is the oldest rivalries in cricket. According to me, it is the biggest one too. These days people do think that India-Pakistan, India-Australia and Australia-South Africa have overtaken it, but I disagree. Maybe these have been more competitive over the last few years, but nothing matches this when it comes to the enormity of the occasion.
Another thing that makes this rivalry so interesting is that it has not come up because there was a very competitive series between the two teams. Nor was it because the two teams had a series in which a battle of abuses was running parallel to the test match. The series is a result of the humiliation the Englishmen felt after their first loss to the Australians.
The English papers called the defeat the death of English cricket. After that, the English went down to the southern hemisphere to take their own back. It was called the quest to regain the Ashes. When England won, they were given an urn which contained the ashes of burnt wood. I am not sure if they were burnt stumps, bails or a ball.
The tiny urn, still reveals this story. To a keen observer, it also shows the story Harold Larwood, and the criticism he faced for bodyline bowling while Douglas Jardine. The mastermind of this act was let go because he belonged to the bourgeois. At the same time it also brings memories of Botham's Ashes, where Iam Botham, the greatest English allrounder ever to have existed, won his nation the Ashes almost single-handedly. These are the stories that just came to my mind right now. There are plenty more.
For quite some time, even though Australia won the urn more times, usually the series gave you some great spectacles and some highly competitive cricket. However, this reduced as the years have gone by. Australia, as we all know dominated cricket like anything for over a decade. England on the other had, took the opposite direction. They became one of the teams that always remained in the middle of the table and went to the lower part quite often.
After the 2005 Ashes, it seemed like things would change. But unfortunately the only thing it did was make Australia stronger. And this was proved by them in the 2007 Ashes when the won 5-0.
But the last year has been terrible for the the Aussies and England have maintained their average standards.
So this is a most even contest which has taken place between them in quite some time. Maybe the baggy green wearers are still stronger but still, this time both the teams have to get up.
Both the teams have to rise from the Ashes.
And this is what sets us for a great Ashes. Finally a fight when both teams will be forced to give their best as they know losing this would really put them down. Maybe not in the rankings, but definitely in their own eyes. It is for you to decide which you think is worse.
And if you ask me, they head to head series wins and losses record don't shouldn't even be talked about. This is an opportunity to reinvent the whole rivalry. Give the whole thing a new base.
And this is crucial at this point of time. Because if this happens, test cricket gets a new life. And if test cricket gets a new life, ICC will be forced to forget about the at the 'reforms' they were thinking of to improve test cricket.
It will also be slap on t20 cricket's face. An answer to the prayers of so many true cricket fans who are tired of this the compromises made with test cricket to include the twenty over format.
But most importantly, it will bring the fans back. And that would solve many of the problems.
So this Ashes, is the most crucial moment in the history of cricket in a very very long time. It will provide it will almost double the force of test cricket. And this is a power only Ashes has. No other rivalry can do this.
The urn fired from the test cricket cannon will turns out to be stronger than the cannon balls.
We may see the end of a painful era where we lose what actually is cricket.
But unlike this t20 cricket era, the new one will not kill other forms. Because test cricket is not a killer. It is a saint who has come to our rescue in the form of the Ashes.
This Ashes guarantees a rise of lot more than just a team.
So at this point, the least we can do is watch the Ashes leaving all other cricket matches. And also hope the following prophesy turns out to be true.
When the land of the originator would meet welcome it's rival,
For something that has no price but is priceless,
And niethe rof them hae anything to lose,
Whites would rise once again from the black Ashes.
Old seeds will be sown again,
But in a new soil this time.